Porches Sunrise

Fall/Winter News
November 2012
In This Issue
Indian History in the Old Village
The McKinley House: Face Forward
The Avis Chase Historic Preservation Restriction
Avis Chase Legacy and the AWCA
The Chatham Alliance
Preservation Toolbox
Village News/Events
Quick Links

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Editor's Letter

Blame it on Sandy ... thanks to a technology hiccup you received the print version of this
newsletter yesterday. Here is the digital version complete with links.  Wishing you a safe recovery from the storm - Ed.

The above image shows a home dear to Old Villagers, the centerpiece of the Chase estate known as the Porches. This historic property is one bloom in a daisy chain of Old Village properties newly protected by a Historic Preservation Restriction. The stories of these homes, and the process of HPR attainment offer a heartening look at how people like the Rev. Ellen McKinley and Joan and Bill Horrocks make good on their desire to keep our architectural heritage living, breathing and vitally present.


With regard to the here and now, David MacAdam brings news about the work of the energetic and multifaceted Chatham Alliance. Additionally, Village News includes a report on an exciting and educational summer camp trip to Little Mill Pond, under the leadership of Matt Darcy, an Old Village neighbor and Audubon counselor. We also continue our Preservation Toolbox connection to the National Trust, which provides timely new resources for you. As we celebrate Chatham's 300th anniversary it is worthwhile to reflect on the lives of those who lived here long before European settlers arrived. Ann Vick-Westgate gives us a glimpse into the world of the Monomoyick, who were and are an integral part of the Old Village and Chatham.


Our thanks go out to all our contributors and passionate homeowners. Preservation is the heart and soul of our news, and of our extraordinary Old Village community.


Jennifer Longworth 

President's Letter

Ten Years Old!


In 1998, only one year after The Old Village Association was incorporated, some of the members set another goal for themselves. And in 2002, after four years of dedication, meetings, and paperwork, the Old Village was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Our thanks go to those folks who won this memorable honor for our Village.


During the ensuing ten years, our Association has helped the town buy the beach at Andrew Harding's Lane, stood in the way of the State's efforts to make major changes to Main Street in the Old Village, cleared the invasive species at the end of Water Street and given the town a wonderful plaque commemorating the history of the waterfront in the village. Most recently, two property owners have placed a Historic Preservation Restriction on their buildings. This assures that they will be "retained and maintained forever substantially in their current condition" so they will be protected for all to enjoy in years to come.


These accomplishments and others honor the spirit of our Association. Now on the 10th Anniversary of our listing in the National Register of Historic Places we must continue to preserve and protect our special spot and also look ahead to future challenges and accomplishments.

~ Nancy Koerner, President

Indian History in the Old Village 


For thousands of years American Indians inhabited the Chatham shore during the warmer months and moved to less exposed areas in winter. The westward movement of the Atlantic beaches eroded or flooded many of the coastal sites. Their dwellings have disappeared but the landscapes, streams and coves where they fished, the hollows that sheltered them, and the places of their burials remain.


As European settlement increased, the Monomoyick, a subgroup of the Wampanoag nation, retained Chatham's Atlantic coast from the south shore of the Massaquesett River (Frost Fish Creek) to what is now Morris Island for their own homes. In 1698 at least 14 Indian homesteads were located in this part of Chatham (see map below). James Head, the location of the Chatham Light is named for Little James, an Indian from Orleans who married the daughter of sachem John Quason. Tom's Neck, the area from James Head to Quitmesset (Morris Island) is probably named for "Great Tom," a Monomoyick. The Mill Pond, on the western shore of Tom's Neck, was known as Tom's Cove.


In 1910, Francis Leavitt James, a Wampanoag from Martha's Vineyard (Aquinnah), transferred from the Gay Head Lifesaving Station to the Monomoy Point Life Saving Station. The family first lived at the Chatham House on Cross Street then moved to a house at the corner of Main and Shore Road and finally to Holway Street. All of these houses are still standing, as is the village school the children attended. The family later bought a house on Stage Harbor Road. One of Francis James' eight children fought in the North African Campaign and at Anzio during the Second World War, one died leading his platoon into battle in France, and one of the three children who became teachers was the first American Indian to graduate from the New England Conservatory of Music. Their children and grandchildren live in Chatham today.

~ Ann Vick-Westgate

smith history of chatham map

map of Chatham showing the lands retained by the Indians in 1698 including what is now the Old Village

(W.C. Smith History of Chatham, Massachusetts, 4th ed., Chatham Historical Society, 1981)      

Face Forward - Distilling a House's Past With an Eye to the Future

The following article relates one Old Villager's experience in obtaining a safeguard for her historic property. McKinley's experience catalyzed the enthusiasm of other Old Villagers, Joan and Bill Horrocks, in pursuing the same for the Chase Estate, also covered in this issue.   - Ed.

The Reverend Ellen McKinley arcs her hands up toward the ceiling of her light-filled sun porch as she describes the moment when she received a Historic Preservation Restriction for her home in the Old Village. "It's just a great joy", she says, framed by the wide glass doors of the porch, which command a stunning view of Lighthouse Beach and the Atlantic beyond. McKinley's interest in pursuing an Historic Preservation Restriction was sparked when she read an article by Mark H. Robinson in the Chatham Conservation Foundation's Bulletin (June 2009), about recent changes in tax legislation that would enable property owners to garner enhanced incentives. McKinley's house was built in the early 1800's, or possibly the middle to late 1700's, and has been added to and moved within the Old Village since then.

McKinley ext
The Rev. McKinley takes in the view of Lighthouse Beach from her historic property


McKinley says the "tremendously helpful" author sent her a Community Preservation Act Fact Sheet, and a copy of KnowHow, a q&a brochure published by the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) as well as referring her to Michael Steinitz, Director of Preservation Planning at MHC. Steinitz was wonderfully supportive to McKinley in marshaling documents, photos, and the requisite application forms. Though lengthy, the process mostly consisted of completing legal documentation, answering each question posed by the MHC, getting an appraisal, and ensuring photography of important historic details. The total cost was less than $2,000.00, mostly in legal fees, McKinley estimates.


And what are the advantages? The Historic Preservation Restriction, under Massachusetts General Law, "runs with the land", preserves a property's architectural integrity, and prevents alterations that would compromise historic character. This means that older elements of the  house, such as the wide-board floors, the fireplaces (there's even one  behind some paneling in the kitchen), the round Cape Cod cellar and the original wainscoting that McKinley particularly cherishes, are protected. In addition, existing ridgepole lines on her garage and remarkable bunkroom will remain, a particularly significant aspect for McKinley. More recent and sensitive modernizations in the house, like solar panels on the roof, repositioned baths, small laundry area in an old washroom, and a trim, well-designed kitchen are also protected. "No [structural] change of any kind can be made without first approaching and receiving the approval of the Chatham Historical Commission (grantor of the restriction)", says McKinley. The other important bonus is that "the grant of an Historic Preservation Restriction may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes ... and also reduce the value of the owner's estate for federal estate tax purposes. In addition, the federal gift tax or capital gains tax payable ... may be reduced", according to the MHC.

McKInely view
The McKinley property faces sunrise, and a
bright future


McKinley clearly revels in every aspect of her unique and historic home. In a very personal way, the house will remain an extension of its owners, especially its current one. Like McKinley herself, the house is bright, cheerful, rigorous and welcoming. Seeking the restriction had the full support of her family, who is pleased to have this protection. In the future, her legacy will remain a notable and bright beacon for preservation on the shoreline of the Old Village.


Preserving the Avis Chase Legacy ...

 On March 13, 2010, the Board of Directors of the Young Women's Christian Association of Philadelphia approved having Historic Preservation Restrictions (HPRs) applied to the legacy properties of the late Avis Chase. The preparation, approval process, and filing of the documents for the Water Street properties were overseen by Joan Horrocks, a Director of the Association. The process concluded with the final filing in the Courthouse at Barnstable on May 30, 2012.


An HPR is a document which a property owner can cause to be attached to the deed of a property of architectural or historic merit which will preserve the property in perpetuity from future modifications. Such a restriction document can preserve both buildings and landscapes from future changes except for allowed modifications which are incorporated in the document by the property owner. It can prevent any future development or subdivision of the property except as specified in the document. A property encumbered by an HPR can be sold or bequeathed, but the new owner is bound by the conditions of the document.


Mother's House  Porches Pond House  

The Chase Estate - from left to right: Mother's House, The Porches, and Pond House (in the background  

Godfrey Grist Mill is just visible in Chase Park, a gift from Avis Chase to the town of Chatham)


HPR documents must specify in detail the purpose of the restrictions, exactly what aspects of the property are to be preserved and how the property is to be maintained in the future. An HPR is a grant by a Grantor, the property owner, to a Grantee, an entity or organization willing and able to accept the responsibility of overseeing the perpetual agreement described in the document. In the case of the three Water Street properties, the Chatham Historical Commission as agent for the Town of Chatham, agreed to be the Grantee. The document was reviewed by the Chatham Historical Commission, by the Town attorney, then approved by the Board of Selectmen and finally by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.


The HPR documents are lengthy and detailed (the three above-mentioned documents are about 30 pages each). They are generally prepared by a preservation specialist who is familiar with the applicable law, in the present case, Eric Dray Esq. of Provincetown. Extensive documentation must be included in HPR documents including current photographs and historic photographs when the latter are available. Copies of the deeds to the property must be included along with the Massachusetts Historical Commission Inventory form B, which describes the contributing structures in the Historic District. The property owner must also agree in the HPR to maintain the property in good condition and to subscribe to continuous insurance with full replacement coverage against all common perils and to stay current in the payment of real estate taxes.


Many properties in the Old Village of Chatham contain significant examples of 19th century architecture that embody the aesthetics of craftsmanship and setting of the time, and are contributing resources to the Old Village Historic District that were listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2001. Most such properties are candidates for HPR protection.    

~Wm. Horrocks 


... And Enjoying The Chase Legacy's Benefits

During a sultry afternoon in August, the Avis Chase Estate's "Porches" home entertained a crowd on its famous wrap-around verandah. As guests of the Young Women's Christian Association of Philadelphia, dba Avis Chase Women's Association (ACWA for the purposes of this article), Old Village neighbors were treated to Mill Pond breezes and conversational sketches of the history of the estate and its philanthropic founder, as well as given a picture of how the estate functions today. The atmosphere was especially festive, since the properties of the estate had just been granted their historical preservation restriction, applied for and pursued by Joan and Bill Horrocks, with the help of Don and Debbie Aikman.


The Porches are the visual centerpiece of the estate, which comprises numbers 20, 25 (the "Pond House") and 52 (The "Mother's House") on Water Street. The Avis Chase legacy enables women members of the AWCA to enjoy a week of Cape Cod's beautiful summer weather and scenery. Debbie Aikman gave a brief history of the buildings' ownership and movements, citing A Cape Cod Legacy, written by ACWA member Antoinette Adam. The Pond House, originally a boathouse, was moved uphill from the shore of Mill Pond. The Mother's House, originally owned by the Goulds, Chase's grandparents, then belonged to Avis Chase's mother, Mary Augusta Young and finally passed to her daughter. Part of Avis Chase's wealth resulted from the employment of her husband, Captain Silmon Grant Chase, by industrialist George D. Widener.    

Iced Tea at the Porches
Debbie Aikman reveals some of the Chases' history
 during Iced Tea at the Porches

ACWA board member Antoinette "Toni" Pratt talked about current ACWA Philadelphia offerings in that city, including involvement with the national Dress for Success program, and timely workshops on identity fraud. Pratt also indicated that Chase Estate visitors "come as members with a vested interest. Availability of Pond House and Mother's House is passed on by word of mouth, and visitors may stay one week at a time, once they have made their formal requests with three date preferences". Pratt and other board members work with board president Evelyn Boyer to "create an even-handed schedule, so that both previous and new visitors get a chance to visit."


As Summer Administrator of the Chase Estate for the past fourteen years, Philadelphian Diane LaForce keeps a close eye and a protective wing over the property, a "magical place", and its guests, whom she calls "my girls". The houses have been in operation since 1959, she said, and are open from the third week of June through the last week of September. In addition to providing the estate legacy, Avis Chase was also a benefactor of the Eldredge Public Library. Joan Horrocks, an Old Village resident, member of the AWCA board and liaison to Chatham, remarked that Chase also offered the town of Chatham a gift of land across Mill Pond that would become Chase Park. According to OVA member John Whelan, the gift was apparently rejected twice by the town, which did not want to take care of the land. Thankfully, it was finally accepted, and is now a venue for year-round events as well as the site of the stunningly restored Godfrey Grist Mill.


ACWA member Sandra Vause spoke eloquently about the Chase estate as "a girlfriend getaway. We come here to relax, refresh and reinvigorate before returning to Philadelphia. We love the Old Village, and esteem it as much as you do." AWCA member Pat Bolin added enthusiastically "I can't believe it - there is water everywhere!" While enjoying the peace and quiet of the Old Village, AWCA guests are active consumers, shopping, dining and sightseeing in Chatham and along the Cape. While on the estate, guests enjoy walks to the beach, occasional communal dinners in the kitchens of the Pond House and Mother's House, and beautiful sunsets over Mill Pond. OVA President Nancy Koerner expressed gratitude to the AWCA for their "fine stewardship of the property".  

Boyer and LaForce


In a subsequent visit with Evelyn Boyer during her stay at the Mother's House, she called the legacy "a tremendous gift". Diane LaForce toured us through the "public" rooms with evident pride, saying, "We don't let anything go. Anything that was in here when I came, stays". We discussed the pleasures of a typical week-long stay: conviviality in the welcoming rooms, which still boast their original decoration and marble-topped tables, the sunlit and abundant outside shower ("a bath like you've never had before", says Boyer), and especially the camaraderie as visitors wrap up their week by helping to clean the pristine houses. In a comment that serves as a fitting motto for preservation, Boyer says, "if you leave it the way you find it, it works".

Boyer and LaForce enjoy a visit at the Mother's House

 The Chatham Alliance - Promoting A Collective Voice  


On a gorgeous afternoon in September I reminisced with Carol Pacun about the origins of the Chatham Alliance. While I clearly remember its beginnings, and have served as the OVA's representative to the Alliance for over three years I, unlike Carol, was not a party to its creation. The idea for The Chatham Alliance for Preservation and Conservation (Alliance for short) came as an aside in a phone conversation with a mid-western community association. With Carol, Debby Ecker and Kurt Hellfach (both now represent Friends of Chatham Waterways within the Alliance), and a few others envisioned a similar organization tailored to circumstances in Chatham. The result of their vision was codified into The Articles of Incorporation, ratified in 1998. The founding member organizations were the Women's Club, Chatham Garden Club, Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association, Friends of Chatham Waterways, Old Village Association, Inc., and Chatham Historical Society.


Over time the Alliance has grown to an association of thirteen autonomous, non-profit organizations. Its mission is the preservation of the Town of Chatham's historic houses, streetscapes, natural resources and heritage as a small fishing village. Membership has grown to include the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, Friends of Chatham Waterways, Friends of the Eldridge Public Library, Friends of Pleasant Bay, Inc., Friends of Trees, The League of Women Voters of the Cape Cod Area (Chatham Unit), South Chatham Village Association, and West Chatham Association, Inc.  The Alliance seeks to foster cooperation and mutual support among its member organizations to enhance their efforts toward achieving their goals. Much of what the Alliance does centers around education through lectures, panel discussions and forums on issues pertaining to conservation and preservation. In addition, the Alliance devotes considerable effort to maintaining and enhancing face-to-face communication, not just between member organizations, but between Town officials and appointed boards and citizens.


The Alliance does not advocate on behalf of its member organizations or their citizen members. Rather it cultivates the common ground on issues of conservation and preservation whenever it appears among its member associations and works to build broad town-wide consensus. By bringing together like-minded member associations to speak with a single voice on common goals, the Alliance seeks to strengthen and reinforce advocacy. The Alliance believes that once informed and educated, member organizations and their citizen members are fully capable of advocacy with no further assistance from the Alliance. Member associations are free to join others in advocating on current issues or as they choose. The Alliance is predicated on the proposition that no private voice, no matter how well funded, can match the public voice of a people united. The goal of the Alliance is to facilitate interested member organizations and ordinary citizens in finding that voice, and then facilitate having that voice heard and understood when and where it matters most, to counter development plans that may relegate conservation and preservation issues to back seats, as well as threatening the public commons.  


The work of the Alliance is a two way street. It works to ensure that the voice of the people is heard in the seats of power, and that our elected and appointed town officials' perspective and pragmatism on relevant issues is conveyed to citizens through Alliance member associations. Already this fall member organizations have benefited from the Alliance's lengthy discussions with Town Manager, Jill Goldsmith, and Chatham's new Director of Community Development, Deanna Ruffer. I will summarize the content of these discussions in a future article.


As Carol and I concluded our reminiscences we talked about the role of the Alliance in Chatham in 2012 and beyond. Carol encapsulated the wishes of all in town who care about conservation and preservation when she said of the Alliance that it needs to be the "conscience of the community for working together to preserve the character and the charm of Chatham as befits its 300th anniversary."

 ~ D. MacAdam  

please see Village News for Alliance event and contact information 

Chatham 2012 Tercentennial Find Your Way Here visit Chatham 300th anniversary events
Preservation Toolbox
This issue takes note of some fascination and useful news from the National Trust's vast online resources, including some of its Ten on Tuesday blog posts. For further reading on what's current in the minds of fellow preservationists, have a look at http://blog.preservationnation.org/.

Be sure to check out this window savvy article on retrofitting by Julia Rocchi, Managing Editor/Associate Director for the National Trust's Digital and New Media.  Massachusetts architect Robert Verrier's post about
saving places with historic tax credits  illustrates how preservation is  good for business and great for the planet with an abundance of informative real life examples. If you haven't already, we urge you to become a member
of the National Trust today!  
~ Village News ~  


This summer the Old Village welcomed a visit from Mass Audubon's Chatham Natural History Day Camp. Lead counselor and Old Villager Matt Darcy (left, with campers) lead his group of "Sharks"  (including Village Kid Aubrey Meyer, using a hand line in the far left picture below) to Little Mill Pond, and recounted their day:


"The Sharks headed out to Mill Pond public dock, a great place to find a diverse group of fish, due to the combination of a salt marsh and pier habitat.  With a seine net (a two person net), dip nets and hand lines for fishing off the dock we were prepared to discover all that Mill Pond has to off er.  Campers shifted between netting along the salt marsh and trying their luck at fishing off the dock.  Some caught menhaden, Atlantic silversides, mumichogs, striped killifish and a sea robin  along with many blue crabs.  Not far away, shrieks of excitement periodically erupted from the dock as campers caught sand sharks on their hand lines.  Our catch provided a great opportunity to discuss the importance of salt marsh habitats as nursery environments for our oceans.  The day concluded with bringing one of the small female sand sharks (which we named Manuela) back to camp for further observation in a marine tank we had set up.  After a brief visit to our sanctuary in Wellfleet, Manuela was returned safely to her home in Mill Pond."  


  nets seine

Audubon campers using hand lines, dip nets, and seine nets in Little Mill Pond 


Further to our Chatham Alliance article, we have the following on Alliance meetings and events. The meetings are open to anyone. They are usually held 3:30 to 5:00 pm at the Eldredge Public Library, the first Thursday of the month, September through June (except January). The organizers usually have a speaker/lecture on a topic relevant to conservation and preservation in Chatham at each meeting. In addition, once or twice a year the Alliance puts on well-advertised forum/panel discussions on conservation and preservation topics of broad current interest.  For more information about the Alliance, email David MacAdam.  



 Old Village Association Officers 2012-2013 


As per the annual meeting August 26, 2013 at the Chatham Beach and Tennis Club, the following slate was voted on and accepted.   The  2012 Nominating Committee (July 2012): Winnie Portenoy, Mary Olmsted, John Whelan, David MacAdam, Nancy Koerner, ex-officio.


OFFICERS: One-year terms



Vice President:



Asst. to Treasurer:

Nancy H. Koerner

Winnie Lear


Deborah Aikman
Wendy Johnson
Mary Olmsted


DIRECTORS: 7-11 Directors each with a 3-year term


Term ending 2013: Deborah Aikman, Nancy Koerner, David MacAdam, Nancy Phelps
Term ending 2014: Lisa Edge, Mary Ann Gray, Wendy Johnson, Jennifer Longworth
Term ending 2015: Winnie Lear, John Whelan, William Horrocks

OVA Website - we've begun archiving digital newsletters and updates at our Links/Archive page, just click the view archive button!


The OVA's gift in honor of Chatham's Tercentennial - the beautiful plaque that Mary Ann Gray and Nancy Phelps worked on is now installed at the east end of Water Street!  Be sure to stop and read the history of the wharf.


Chatham Wharf Plaque detail


If you'd like to contribute or subscribe to future e-newsletters please contact us. Sending you timely news by email is the most immediate and cost-effective means of reaching our members. Your email address will be used for communications only from the OVA.   

Happy Holidays! 

Old Village Association
P.O. Box 188
Chatham, MA 02633